Having to spend a night at home with your partner doesn’t always sound very romantic or entertaining, especially if you have to do it because your funds don’t stretch to a meal at a restaurant or night at the cinema, but if it’s done right, your financially reduced date might just become a favorite event!
The key to any financially restricted project is planning. Many dates involve eating and/or drinking as well as entertainment. This is where it becomes expensive. By planning the date in advance, you can take care of the food/drink issues and so reduce the cost of your date. Another expense issue is often admission fees. Think about the places you can go where this isn’t going to create a burden on your budget.
1. You could stay home.
A date at home mightn’t sound very romantic – but consider this. A candle-lit picnic on a blanket on your living room floor. Now that sounds as if it’s got potential right? Ok, once you know when this is happening, set it up during the day. You need to organize what you’re going to eat, drink, and what you’re going to do. You may also need to physically rearrange your living room to accommodate your idea.
Select food that you can prepare in advance, which isn’t too messy and that can be eaten with your fingers. If you want to serve wine, then it’s probably better that you become creative with cheaper food and use the main part of your budget on a good bottle of wine. Find a nice throw or blanket, spread it on the floor and pile cushions up around it. Place candles around the living room in places where they aren’t likely to catch fire and generally tidy up anything that looks out of place. If you’re planning on watching a video/DVD, then this should be checked to see if it’s working before your partner arrives. If you just want to listen to romantic music, organize this also in advance.
When your partner arrives, the lights should be dim or candle-lit only, the food should be warm and ready to eat, and the wine chilled, ready to drink. All that remains is for you both to kick off your shoes, put on the entertainment and enjoy your romantic picnic on a budget.
2. Going to the movies and theater is expensive, but there are ways around this.
Check out the various movie theaters for special offers. Some theaters will offer you two tickets for the price of one on certain nights, or for certain times. Others will give discounted prices for unpopular times. Theaters often give discounted tickets for new musicals etc so not only do you get a good price, but you get to see the show before it becomes too popular. Get a ticket for a late or early show, and organize to eat before or after the movie. If you eat at home you can perhaps tie in your menu with the movie you’re going to see! Instead of going out for a meal afterwards, consider an ice cream. You could sit in a restaurant and eat this, or if the weather is nice, why not buy an ice cream to take out and have a romantic walk whilst you eat it.
3. Fresh air is free!
This is the perfect budget date. Find a nice place to take a walk, perhaps see something different like a national park or monument. Take some sandwiches and coffee out to a nearby lake and just enjoy being together – don’t forget to take some extra bread for the hungry ducks and chipmunks that might be hoping to be invited to your picnic. If you have rollerblades, why not have a rollerblading date? Or skateboard? Or swim in the lake? If you’re outside, make use of what’s available to make the date memorable.
4. What are you and your partner interested in?
Find places to go that will allow you to pursue these interests without exceeding your budget. Museums for example usually have low entry fees (some are even free), although high profile sports events are expensive to attend, find some lower league team to support and have a great night watching a game live – don’t forget to take your coffee and snacks with you!
5. Take up a new hobby together.
Find something new that you can both get interested in and attend a class to learn it together. The most important part of any date is that you spend quality time together. The focus of the date isn’t so important. Make sure that you plan something that you know you’ll both enjoy and it doesn’t matter if it’s not dinner and dancing at the top night spot in town. If you spend the evening laughing – and loving – even a shared soda and hotdog in the car park can be a romantic date!